In the early 1970’s, Mattie’s Mini Park was developed as a result of the Grifton Resources Improvement Plan
(GRIP) group. This was a community-coordinated council that encouraged cross-organizational efforts for community improvement from 1968 to 1978, which is also responsible for conceiving and planning the first Shad Festival in 1971. The park is named after Mattie Dixon, a life-long leader within the African American community of Grifton. Mrs. Dixon helped pioneer this project because there was nowhere in her community for children to play, and this vacant lot on the corner of Main and Gordon Streets was always littered with broken glass and trash. With the help of several community members and groups, this lot was transformed into Mattie’s Mini Park. It was furnished with a children’s play area including a swing set, basketball court, slides, a picnic area, and other playground accessories.